Lera and Grisha lived with my parents when my Mom just became sick. I must say, Grisha was a great help, because Lera and I were not very keen on the housework. He cooked and cleaned all day long, only to be constantly criticized by his mother-in-law, who herself stopped doing any cooking and cleaning when she became sick. Her most famous (in our family) remark to him was, as he slaved in the kitchen: "I don't like the movement of your hands!" She would hound the poor man in every aspect of his life. Grisha is a very peculiar guy, but she was just too much. He liked to eat in small amounts, but many times a day. She would be watching him and whispering loudly: "Look, look, he took another plate!", and then at full volume: "Did you leave anything for your wife?!" If he was taking a shower, she'd bang on the door and declare: "Enough, let the others use the bathroom!" It's interesting, that to my husband she was all sweetness and warmth, not a word in reproach. I think, in him she recognized a kindred spirit.
In all that I didn't talk about my children. I know that many people are against the term Jewish American Princess. I coined another term, though: Jewish-Japanese American Princess. I'm not being racist. That's what my daughter was and always will be. As a baby, she would sit on her high chair, with a solemn and slightly uppity expression on her face, graciously accepting - or not - the adoration and nourishment from her loyal subjects. And loyal subjects she had! If you came into a room, you'd see all eyes trained on her. That was until her brother was born.
She never expressed open hostility toward him, but she was taking steps to ensure her superiority (or just to bug him). The pacifiers or Sonny's favorite bottle would mysteriously disappear, to be found much later, just out of eyesight, behind the table leg or between his mattress and the side of the bed. In the mean while, the poor fellow would be screaming his head off. In fact, if you look at the photos of Sonny and Hanah at that time, he'd be always screaming and she'd be watching him with the expression of a cat in front of a bird cage.